A Publicist and Her Soapbox: Why Everything Isn’t Fake News

A Publicist and Her Soapbox: Why Everything Isn’t Fake News

reading a newspaperWhen I was in college I did a study abroad program affiliated with my very small Christian college. One of my favorite parts of this particular program was the requirement to read newspapers and watch the local news weekly, writing reflections on our discoveries. It was a great practice that helped many of the young, sometimes insulated, students (myself included) have a broader understanding of the world around us.

Skip forward nearly eleven years to me working as IVP’s publicity manager, working daily with the media in many forms. Given my background, I’m sure it’s not surprising for you to hear that I love what I do. I like reading the newspaper, and watching CNN, and listening to NPR on my way to work. I read People Magazine for fun whenever I travel, and I read blog posts with regularity. I’m a heavy user of news apps on my phone, and I get alerts constantly about things happening in the world. I have a small (I think it’s under control) addiction to Twitter for news and commentary.

What makes all that perfect is that as a publicist, it’s my job to pay attention to these things. More so than most other jobs, mine requires me to be up on the news, opinions, and conversations that are happening on a daily basis. I have my finger on the pulse of the news, so to speak, making sure I know what the hot button issues are and what trigger points there are for others.

But we are also faced with the threat of death for many forms of media: where many towns had at least one major daily paper, sometimes two, now there are none. Where there once were entire books and culture departments, entire teams of religion reporters, there are none. Traditional radio outlets are closing their doors and turning off their mics.

And then on top of everything else, we often hear that the media is biased and readers seem to get news from sources that confirm their own views. Our world has become angry, frustrated, and divided. It often seems like people are talking past one another and just generally not listening.

So what’s a publicist to do? The times when I’ve learned most from others, and frankly, about myself, have been when I’ve allowed information in that doesn’t just reiterate what I already believe. I’ve learned from books, from magazines, from radio programs, from podcasts. When I’ve opened up my eyes and ears to the world, it’s allowed me to have a bit more empathy and understanding about the different people, the others, standing next to me.

I firmly believe that IVP’s books are gateways into this potential for understanding. Our books speak to the intersection—they have a lot to say about current issues, whether it’s race in America, trends in the church, how the church can cope with suffering, and interfaith dialogue, among others. And I pitch our authors to media outlets to make sure their voices are being heard and that this broader IVP mission is being accomplished.

But if we aren’t reading those books—and even before that paying attention to newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio programs, and podcasts—that open our eyes to other viewpoints, can we actually help solve this lack of understanding?

I’d encourage you, readers, to try a new media format out. Check out a new blog. Subscribe to a new podcast. Grab a newspaper you might normally disagree with.

And, as an added bonus, you might catch one of our amazing books or authors on any of those on any given day. Here are some examples of our books being featured in a variety of media outlets: